Above with me are my lovely wife Este and my two adorable daughters, kleine Mia (4-now 10) and Quinette (15-now 21). They are the love of my life and the backbone of our loft!! We are living in Louis Trichardt for the last 19 Years.

I am a member of the Hangklip (Hanging Rock) (derived from Hang lip-See picture) Racing Pigeon Club in a small town called Louis Trichardt (Makhado) in South Africa. Louis Trichardt is situated at the foot of the Zoutpansberg Mountain range in the far Northern part of South Africa in the province called Limpopo. This province is named after the Limpopo River that forms our countries border between Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The nature scenes around us is stunning and with the famous Kruger Park game reserve less than an hour’s drive away, and with all the game farms in our area, you can say we live in the wild!!

 THE DREYER LOFT : 23°03′19"S 29°54′26.9:E (DD= -23.055278,29.907472)

Country - South Africa              Province -Limpopo            Time zone - SAST (UTC+2)

 Hanglip or, Hangklip as it was called by the older people are towering majestically over our town. Unfortunately this is also the home to a fast colony of birds of prey who are feeding on our pigeons when practising or returning home from a race. We lose up to 20% of our pigeons to birds of prey in our area!!

 

 The birds of prey in our region are made up of the Falcons and Kestrels. These are small to medium size raptors. They have large heads and their wings are long, narrow and pointed. The size difference between males and females is distinctive in this group. Some species are dynamic aerial hunters, stooping at great speeds to strike at their prey in mid air, Such as a Peregrine Falcon. Falcons and Kestrels do not build their own nests, but instead lay their eggs on cliff ledges. Mostly diurnal, some are crepuscular, hunting at dawn and dusk. We have regular encounters with them even while our birds are bathing and enyoing open loft. They are beautiful birds but a serious frustration for our pigeon owners


Over and above the danger of running into a falcon we also lose a lot of pigeons flying into game farm fences, telephone wires etc when returning home. We even had pigeons returning with shotgun pellets embedded in them as our route runs over a traditional bird shooting area in the Freestate and the Springbokvlakte. This guy’s shoot blindly at everything with feathers!!

We counter for our losses, by producing extra 40-50 young per year for racing. That means that if we start with 150 young we might end up with a 100 racers at the start of the races. Many a tear were shed for a promising racer that did not made it back home and a fancier that bred 150 young will most likely end the season with 50 birds left.

                    Racing is tough in the wild!!!